The city’s clunky website won’t get an overhaul anytime soon.
The Board of Finance recently stripped $35,000 that had been set aside for new website software from the proposed budget as part of its effort to hold down property taxes.
That leaves the Bristol Development Authority and other city offices that are eager for improvements out in the cold for another year or more.
With the city’s existing software, “there are limitations to what we can do,” said Scott Smith, who oversees the city computers.
“Some of the technology needs to be updated,” Smith said.
Development officials want to use the BDA website to showcase Bristol to potential developers or businesses that are looking for new locales. They said they want the site to feature video and pictures along with data that puts the city in a good light.
Smith said the city’s software can’t handle embedded video – a video set inside a normal web page – but it has some flexibility to show off pictures and texts. It can also link to videos hosted on outside sites such asYouTube.
“It’s better than nothing,” city Councilor Ken Cockayne said.
Jonathan Rosenthal, the development authority’s director, said “the look” of the website could stand to be updated, but there is only so much he can do.
He promised to work closely with Smith to make whatever improvements are possible.
Rosenthal said the content will be updated completely so that it reflects what the office is actually doing.
Smith said the city has a content management system for its website that lets departments have some flexibility in establishing what to put online.
But the basic templates are the same for every municipal department, Smith said.
Some departments have extensive offerings – the land use office, for example – while others have little more than a bare-bones description of what they do.
Bristol is far behind many other Connecticut municipalities in terms of what it puts online and what residents can do online instead of going to City Hall.
Officials said they wished they had the money to make changes soon, but with the budget so tight, they had no choice except to squeeze out the website money until perhaps 2011.
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